It can be a little bit intimidating to start using a new social network, especially when you’re starting from scratch.  In order to hook and book millennials it’s crucial to use all the tools at your disposal, especially a visually focused platform like Instagram.

Luckily there are 6 easy ways to get the ball rolling, and all it takes is a little bit of time and dedication.

Create Your Signature Hashtag

When it comes to Instagram, a little bit of planning now will save a whole lot of time later.  Choosing a signature Instagram hashtag for your business goes beyond simply improving your Instagram following.  

Encourage your clients to use your hashtag on their event photos so that future clients can easily and quickly find every single post on Instagram that references your business.  

As we already mentioned here and here – not only is a picture worth a thousand words –  but reviews and referrals are key to expanding your customer base.

Your unique hashtag should be something simple and easy to remember, like your business’s name.  If your business name doesn’t clearly denote what type of services you offer, be sure to include a one-word description of that in your hashtag as well.

Don’t forget to use other relevant hashtags on your photos as well – the more hashtags you use, the more people will see your photos.

Build A Portfolio

While it may seem counterproductive to upload a bunch of pictures before you have a following, there is nothing that scares away new followers faster than an Instagram account with only one or two pictures.

Choose 15-20 beautiful pictures that are representative of your business and post them immediately after creating your account.  It doesn’t matter how old the pictures are, as long as they are visually engaging.  Remember to separate your emotions from the instagram pictures you decide to post: even if your services were absolutely flawless at an event, if the picture is blurry or too dark, it’s not going to effectively promote your business.  Each Instagram image should be frame worthy – i.e. able to stand alone without explanation or apology.

Engage Your Audience

It’s not enough to simply create an account and post photos on Instagram; it’s just as imperative to interact with other Instagram users.  Linking Instagram to your other social media accounts will allow you to follow your friends – and hopefully most of them will follow you back – but in order to continually increase your followers, you need to do more.

Find your top five competitors’ Instagram accounts and spend some time each day going through their followers.  Go to each followers’ Instagram account and like the last five pictures they’ve posted on their account.

This strategy is a sure fire way to increase your followers quickly.  Once you’ve exhausted the followers of your competition, do the same thing with the accounts of other Event Professionals in your area who might have an overlapping client base.

Another good strategy? Pick a hashtag that is popular in your industry and spend some time each day liking the first five photos of Instagram users who have posted a photo with that hashtag.  For example, if you’re a wedding venue in New England, a good hashtag to examine would be #EtherealBride.

Post Regularly

There is nothing more destructive to your instagram account than inactivity.  Figure out a realistic schedule for posting and stick to it. Ideally you should be posting at least once a day, but no more than every six hours. It’s also important to stick to those high quality images – posting a poor quality picture in order to stick to a schedule is counterproductive.

If you’re struggling to take a picture a day for Instagram, feel free to post inspiration pictures from other accounts that you feel represent your spirit and style; just make sure you credit the account where you saw it, along with the artist, if available.

Stay on Brand

Think of your Instagram account as the visual look book for your brand.  It’s important to post pictures that feel cohesive and relevant.  Staying on brand doesn’t necessarily mean you can only post pictures that relate strictly to your business because you are your brand.  If you’re an officiant who loves the ocean, go ahead and post that scenic beach shot – it will help round you out as a person and help potential clients feel the connection they need to book an event with you – just refrain from exclusively posting those images.

Have Fun

Instagram is an opportunity to express yourself and visually represent your business, but it’s also a great way to create a feed of beautiful images uniquely curated to your preferences.

Before you decide to follow a new account, ask yourself if the pictures they post will have a positive impact on your mood, and if not, allow yourself to take a pass.  If you make an effort to follow accounts that make you happy, it will quickly become a passion, rather than part of your job.